On December 13, China and France held the 8th High Level Economic and Financial Dialogue. The two sides discussed cooperation on trade and financial services markets, as well as macroeconomic policy coordination. Chinese Vice-Premier HU Chunhua and French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire co-chaired the Dialogue.
According to a Joint Fact Sheet issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the meeting, “both sides held an in-depth discussion on international macroeconomic policy coordination, and bilateral cooperation in key areas and major projects.”
On trade and market access, the two nations “commit to providing non-discriminatory access to their markets for agri-food exporters” and “will join efforts to secure a fair and non-discriminatory market environment, and encourage businesses from all countries to participate in the 5G network construction in line with market principles and security principles.”
With regard to new Chinese regulations on food safety and registration of foreign food manufacturers, the two sides committed to implementing the new rules in a way that would not create either "excessive constraints for companies regarding the level of risk of their products" or "trade disruption.” China also “welcomes France’s commitment in supervision and recommendation of companies in the meat sector.”
The two sides also “acknowledge the recognition of their management and control systems for African Swine Fever (ASF) zoning, and welcome the signing of the relevant protocol and its entry into force.” This protocol, although details were not disclosed, would allow French pork exports from ASF-free areas, even if a case of ASF were to be declared in France, according to the French government.
In financial services markets, the joint statement noted that “France welcomes this openness of the Chinese financial markets to foreign companies, including allowing foreign financial institutions to establish joint ventures or fully owned securities companies in China, as well as completing the filing procedure for QFII (Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor )/ RQFII (Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor) asset custody business qualification of a French bank in the past year.” Both sides “welcome the increased participation of a qualified French bank in consumer finance in China, and they are willing to facilitate the takeover of an existing Consumer Finance Company by this French bank and its Chinese bank partner.” China also said it “welcomes French asset management institutions owned by French banks to set up joint venture wealth management companies together with subsidiaries of Chinese banks.”
The two nations also pledged joint efforts on intellectual property protection, including geographical indications, as well as air connectivity, climate change and biodiversity.
During a press conference held by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 14, the spokesperson summarized the outcomes of the meeting in three areas:
First, the two sides had in-depth exchange of views on such issues as promoting international and multilateral cooperation on global economic recovery in the post-COVID era and deepening practical bilateral cooperation. This has enhanced mutual understanding and strengthened mutual political trust. Second, the two sides reached 54 cooperation outcomes in international macroeconomic policy coordination, especially bilateral cooperation in key areas and major projects. These outcomes cover areas including economy and trade, agriculture, aerospace, civil nuclear energy, scientific and technological innovation, finance and third market. This demonstrates the two sides’ strong consensus of growing and deepening bilateral economic and financial relations. Third, the two sides stressed the need to enhance global development partnership for sustainable development goals, support the critical role of the G20 in improving global economic governance and oppose all forms of protectionism. Together, the two sides sent a positive message of China-France solidarity in addressing global challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change, and of concerted efforts to uphold multilateralism, keep industrial and supply chains stable and functioning and build an open world economy.
According to the French government’s report, during the meeting, French Minister Bruno Le Maire recalled “the importance of removing unjustified barriers to market access and protecting intellectual property,” particularly in aeronautics, finance and cosmetics. In addition, the minister noted the importance of “fair competition” and “asked for more commitment from China in this area.”
On the macroeconomic policy coordination, the joint fact sheet stated that the two sides “support the critical role of the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation … and promote the G20 to shape … global economic governance.”
They also “firmly uphold the rules-based, non-discriminatory, open, transparent, and inclusive multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, and oppose all forms of protectionism, including import substitution policies.” China “reaffirms its willingness to join the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as soon as possible and will continue its efforts in joining the GPA.”